Firestarter

My husband mentioned last week that it had been awhile since I set a stove on fire. I don’t know why or how it came up, but it was a valid comment since I have, in fact, incinerated a few stoves and ovens in my day. But with that comment, he inflicted a curse on our house. The following day my dryer turned off by itself after running for five minutes and when I opened the door, I was greeted by the smell of burning plastic/wires/electronics/etc… This is a smell I know well.

We called a repairman out to have a look and we were informed that the repair of our 10 year old dryer would run us somewhere between $600-900. The service call was well worth the fee though because we learned what brands not to buy. Strangely, it was pretty much every brand that the big box stores were running sales on last weekend. Also, the fact that each of the brands he recommended were American was a little suspect, but he explained that the parts for foreign machines were difficult to get and that the quality of the brand we currently had peaked at about the time we bought our last machine and had been going downhill ever since. I didn’t ask if he was a card carrying member of the proud boys or anything, but I don’t think his recommendation was made based on being a redneck.

After considering how much laundry I do in any given week (3-6 loads), I promptly went online and ordered a washer and dryer set. Our washer was working properly but I’m no dummy and know that if I replaced only the dryer, the washer would go up in flames the following day. If anyone could cause something that dispenses water to burn to ashes, it’s me. On Friday night I placed my order and scheduled a delivery for Sunday afternoon. My husband spent the next afternoon preparing for the delivery by removing doors and unhooking our old machines. I knew enough to pay the extra charge for the delivery guys to cart away our old crap.

Sunday rolled around and we were informed that our delivery would be late, which was fine until the truck showed up and the delivery team informed us that their work order did not include taking anything with them and that they had our order but it included a dryer that had very obviously been in someone else’s house and was missing the legs. They refused to take our 10 year old dusty machines and we refused to take their broken merchandise.

When I called the store (as instructed by the deliveryman), I basically got the run around for several hours. I talked to a woman who I am pretty sure had short-term memory issues because she called me back three times to confirm the details of my problem. I thought it was pretty cut and dry but she was having some trouble understanding the specifics. She was under the impression I ordered two washing machines and didn’t know why I wouldn’t let go of the broken one when the delivery men tried to take it. I’m now wondering if she was under the impression she was calling a laundromat. She left me with a broken promise of a call back to resolve the issue.

The next morning I called back and spoke with someone who, amazingly understood my dilemma and helped me resolve it. He was astonished that the delivery guys refused to even look at our invoice that verified we had paid for them to take away our old stuff and said that if it happened on the next delivery to call him right away. He also informed me that the washing machine we ordered never made it back to the store. I am now guessing that the delivery man didn’t have the time to haul away our stuff at 5:30 at night because he was preparing to hook up his brand new washing machine that “fell off the truck” somewhere along the way.

Unfortunately, even with Mr. Helpful on the case, we still had some hurdles to jump since the washer/dryer set I originally ordered was out of stock. We ended up being upgraded to a more expensive model but he had to call all over to get manager approval. When the order was finally ready to process, our Lowe’s credit card was rejected for too much activity. Apparently they frown on stores attempting to return items so I had to call to get the hold removed. By the time the items were authorized, purchased and scheduled for delivery, I had spent 4 hours and 48 minutes on the phone with various Lowe’s employees and yelled at at least three of them.

But today, we have a washer and dryer. My husband did have to install them himself since the deliverymen said they were unable to touch our old tubes and clamps for liability reasons. But that was probably for the best since one of the guys was sweating so profusely I was afraid he might actually slip and fall in his own bodily fluids in my hallway. And I couldn’t have waited another minute since my kid wears about 12 outfits a day. If anyone needs me, I’ll be slowly unburying myself from mounds of clothing I have been trapped under while on hold.

**Nothing makes me feel better than good old fashioned punk rock when I am annoyed and frustrated (or happy, angry, ambivalent…)

Hello?

I’m beginning to think my phone number has made the rounds at an online pirating convention because I have been getting scam calls up the yin yang. I get a call a day from Amazon making sure I meant to make a purchase on my account (which I do not have). I do have to say, when having a stressful day, messing with some asshole trying to steal people’s credit card information is a perfect remedy. My conversation today went a little like this:

“This is Amazon verifying your purchase of $399.89. If you did not make this purchase, you can speak to an Amazon customer service manager by pressing 1.” And you better believe I pressed 1. So forcefully, in fact that I almost threw my phone across the room in the process.

Asshole: Thank you for choosing to speak to customer service today. This is Jerry. How may I help you?

Me: I’m not sure. You called me about a purchase.

Asshole: Yes ma’am. A purchase was made today using your Amazon account. Did you purchase an iPhone 11 for $399.89?

Me: Oh no. I didn’t. What do I do?

Asshole: Well ma’am, unfortunately the parcel has already been sent out so you will need to fill out a form to cancel the charge on your account. You can fill out the form online. Are you near a computer?

Me: Yes

Asshole: Okay, now you are on Google Chrome correct?

Me: How did you know that? Are you in my computer?

Asshole: No ma’am. No. Most computers have Google Chrome. So you can go to the search bar at the top, the white bar and type in U as in unicorn, L as in lima….. (and several more letters that I didn’t listen to, but I did hear ice cream at one point). Now, can you repeat what you typed in?

Me: Oh, I wasn’t typing. I thought you wanted me to write it down. Can you repeat that?

Asshole: Yes ma’am. U as in unicorn, L as in lima…

Me: Wait, did you say lima? Do you mean lemur? You didn’t send me lemurs instead of puppies did you? I ordered a box of puppies. That’s what I ordered from Amazon, not an iPhone.

Asshole: What are you talking about puppies? No ma’am. There are no puppies. Can you tell me the address you typed?

Me: I didn’t type anything. I was writing. Where am I supposed to be typing?

Asshole: On your keyboard ma’am.

Me: Oh, my keyboard… you want to hear me play on the keyboard. Hold on.

I then proceeded to bash on the piano for a full minute at which point my daughter started yelling from the other room wondering what the noise was.

Me: What do you think?

Asshole: Ma’am, what are you doing? Are you at your keyboard. I need you to type the address.

Me: I was at my keyboard. Did you like my playing? So, you said the parcel went out. Where are my puppies? Do you have my puppies? You better not have my puppies.

Asshole: Ma’am (now with a raised voice), I don’t know anything about any puppies. But I am going to need you to type the address on your computer to fill out the form. Are you at your computer?

I was not at my computer. I was actually trying to free my leg from my cat’s jaw as he chomped on my achilles tendon. I think he heard me talking about receiving a box of puppies and was feeling insecure and angry. Or my piano playing really set him off. It’s hard to tell.

Me: No. I’m at my keyboard. But I’m going to need that address again. I couldn’t understand you. 

Asshole: Ma’am, you need to be at your computer. Do you have a keyboard?

Me: Do they send you to special scammer training to learn how to deal with difficult calls? I mean in Bangladesh or wherever you are, do they teach you special skills to rip off little old ladies and get them to give you their credit card information?

Asshole: (finally catching on that I was being a dick) No, in Pakistan. We go to the Technological Institute.

Me: You must be really pathetic to do this for money. I bet your mom is super proud of you.

Apparently I hit a nerve because he got agitated at this point. He said something about hiding it from his mom and hung up on me shortly thereafter.

So, you’re welcome to whoever was next on the call list. I spent 15 minutes of this scumbag’s time and reduced my stress by at least 50%.

I should have just played this over the phone…

Redemption Song

jokerMy daughter is making her first reconciliation this week. For you non-guilt-ridden-catholics, this is the act of confession. We have been discussing this sacrament since she made her first communion a few years ago. Every time she is a little asshole to me or her father I tell her she may want to add that to the list. Until recently she claimed she had nothing to confess. She sounds like her grandfather who claims to go to confession just to chat with the priest since he has no sins to repent for. I know both of them too well to believe either of them and I think they may want to add lying to their lists as well. But apparently sending her to a catholic school has instilled some of that good old fashioned shame into her and she is now ready to make her first confession.

Unfortunately, she is scheduled to partake in this event while I am otherwise occupied. I honestly didn’t make other plans to avoid repenting for my various sins, I just have a prior engagement. When we discussed this time conflict it was determined by my family that everyone is better off with me skipping out. My husband commented that the priest wouldn’t have time to hear anyone else’s confessions after listening to me for hours on end. My daughter’s only response was “yeah, it would be like you talking to your therapist!” which she apparently believes I do for hours on end while she is at school. I would try to disagree with them, but I can’t in good conscience say I don’t have a laundry list of misdeeds to atone for. This week alone I can name a dozen things I said or did. Fortunately, I can also name a dozen good deeds I have done as my little act of atonement. 

I didn’t want to point out to my family that I have improved by leaps and bounds in the past few years. If they had any idea how many times I actually hold back from expressing myself when some idiot says something idiotic, they would actually be impressed. Luckily for them, I keep most of my comments to myself, even when they are the idiots saying something idiotic. Who says people can’t change?!

*I wrote this blog while listening to my favorite.

Get Up Kids

We have been playing a lot of games as a family lately, and after the first few games, I really don’t know why we weren’t doing this more because it is hilarious. The best kind of game seems to be any kind where my child has to give an answer. It doesn’t even really matter what the question is because her answer is going to have us all rolling.

Last month we played a game my parents bought from some redneck comedian where you get a bunch of answer cards with phrases like “that’s what she said” and “you’re not supposed to do that to a melon.” A card with a scenario is drawn and everyone has to pick a phrase from their cards that they think fits best. No matter how hard I tried, my answers were totally inappropriate for a child to hear. Somehow I brought the game to a whole new level of dirty and we quit playing. On the plus side, my kid had no idea what I was crying about when I played the card that read “is it supposed to be that small?” repeatedly.

Last time we sat down with a deck of question and answer cards, they were a little more benign. My mom had chosen a game where kids answer questions that adults would know and adults answer questions kids would know. Strangely, my dad appeared to know the most kid trivia and none of us could answer a single thing about Sean Mendez or Ariana Grande.

Here are some of my daughter’s best answers:

Q: What was Flipper?
A: A clown

Q: Sikhs wear what on their heads?
A: Those things with feathers…. The tall things. Oh I don’t know…. to which I replied “do you mean a headdress? That’s the wrong kind of Indian.”

Q: Fill in the blank – Smokey the…
A: Pig! (In her defense, my answer was Bandit)

Q: What did Michele Obama plant in the White House garden?
A: John Kennedy (If this were true, Milania Trump would have dug him up….)

Q: What president was also a famous actor?
A: Kennedy (I guess she has a thing for Kennedy. Who knew?)

We learned a lot last game night. Mostly that we know nothing about the things most kids do (which explains a lot about our family) and that I can make any game dirty. If you don’t believe me, just challenge me to a game of Scrabble. 

*I wrote this while listening to the new Unsane.

Neighbors

I have become the neighborhood crazy lady. It seems like since I left my 9 to 5 and started working from home that I have become increasingly more aware of my neighbors, and what they are doing. Until about a year ago we already had a neighborhood busy body but she moved away, apparently leaving the position open for me. I am now acutely aware of my neighbors’ coming and goings, as well as all of their bad habits. They should all be grateful that I am not on the homeowner’s association board. More accurately, they should be thanking sweet baby Jesus that I have not yet convinced my husband to doctor me up some official looking neighborhood watch letterhead. I would be sending one line letters daily with comments such as “hey asshole, vegetable gardens are for the backyard, not next to your front porch!” and “maybe you are unaware that they picked up your garbage on Monday, so there is no need for your recycling bin to be at the curb on Friday, but great job saving the planet!” But seriously, nobody wants to see tomato plants and cucumber vines growing all over their neighbor’s front porch.

My latest obsession has been our neighbor who has no clue where his property line is located. In fairness, our lawn company did cut half of his grass last summer, mostly because they came on Tuesday after the neighbor had already spent all weekend cutting half of his grass, so they followed the line he made. When fall rolled around, he raked about 10 feet of his substantial property and called it a day. I raked up to our property line and left his leaves for a week until the forecast called for snow. I was concerned the plows would come through and push all of his leaves in the street into our driveway so I raked them all up to the curb where they still sit four months later. And now there is snow…

When our previous neighbors still occupied the house next door, we took turns snow blowing the sidewalk. Whoever saw the snow first was “it” and took care of the sidewalk between the houses. We tried this when our new neighbors moved in several years ago but they apparently didn’t understand the game. At the time I was doing a lot of the snow blowing since my husband was working crazy long hours. The first few times it snowed, I cleared a path between our driveway and theirs. Apparently the neighbor interpreted this gesture as me claiming the job of clearing his sidewalk for all of eternity, because when he does his snow removal first, he avoids our house like the plague. He hasn’t stepped more than 10′ away from his driveway with a shovel.

Clearly, our neighbor is both unclear and unconcerned about where his property is and what he needs to do about it. The worst part is that every year, the arbitrary property line seems to move. The good news is we are gaining more property, the bad news is it’s not really ours, we just maintain it. After I watched a giant mound of leaves sit and gather snow for months I had finally had enough. When my husband went out to shovel after the first substantial snowfall, I followed him and told him exactly where to stop. I had done a little research (and measuring) and knew exactly where our property line was. The next day I looked outside to see that our neighbor had shoveled most of his property but left a 20′ piece of sidewalk uncleared. He was apparently throwing down the gauntlet. We had both shoveled at least a half dozen times so far and the large section of sidewalk remained covered. I know it was killing my husband to leave it be, but the more we give, the more they take. Pretty soon we will be taking care of their whole yard.

I have thought of a dozen ways to make this situation worse, but not one that would actually encourage the neighbor to just shovel his damn sidewalk. At this point, I am thinking I should either put some crime scene tape around the patch of sidewalk or build a snowman or ski jump right in the middle of it. At least the kids could get some use out of it that way. A few days ago my daughter was going to go over and ask the neighbor to play and my husband said “I don’t know…can you get through the sidewalk there?” half mocking me. And then last night over a foot of snow dropped on us. This morning my husband went out to snow blow and I watched him walk all the way over to the neighbor’s driveway, clearing the entire sidewalk between our houses. I wanted to tell him that our neighbor would now consider this our job, but I know he wouldn’t really care. He is the one who keeps watching the rest of the neighborhood try to traverse the giant mound of snow with their dogs and small children. Unfortunately, I think I now need to call my landscapers back to get a quote for cutting two lawns this spring.

*I wrote this while trying to drown out my daughter making Instagram reels and listening to my boyfriend (Mr. Henry Rollins).

Young At Heart

Sometimes my dad buys gifts for my daughter that may or may not actually be for him. I get it, it’s hard not to buy things that you think would be really cool or you remember loving as a kid. I purchased the child fur leg warmers when she was 2 because everyone needs to know what it feels like to be a cat, and they reminded me of the fur coat I wore as a child every time we went to the theater or to a fancy restaurant. But I am losing count of the items my dad has purchased for his granddaughter that he spent more time playing with than she did.

Five years ago the Old Man bought a set of remote control cars so they could race. In theory, this was great, but he neglected the fact that a four year old does not have the dexterity to steer anything with a remote control. It was like watching a dog try to peel an orange, and the results were much the same. The car was thrown and kicked across the driveway more than once. Somehow along the way my mom purchased several more cars which are all on the same radio frequency. The Old Man can drive 4 cars at once while my daughter kicks her one car around the driveway.

In an attempt to help my daughter become better coordinated and athletic, my dad has purchase a baseball mitt, a golf club and a drone. She has reluctantly used all of these things and still remains clumsy as can be. These purchases have improved my dad’s golf game and allowed him an excuse to toss around a ball. The baseball mitt now resides with my dad, the golf club is missing more often than not and the drone didn’t last a full day. Last year he bought her a snowboard which she used exactly twice, most likely because my dad has no ability to get out on the slopes with her. It sat in our family room for a week during the first snowfall in an attempt to pique her interest in the sport to no avail. 

This year my dad made yet another purchase that may have been because he could picture himself as a young man using it. He bought my kid a hoverboard. The minute she opened it, all I could think about were the 500 funny videos I have seen of people wiping out. She rode it around the family room and, surprisingly, did not even wobble. Unfortunately, I think this gave the Old Man some unfounded confidence in his ability to stay upright. Within 24 hours he tested his balance, and much like his high school French grade, it was not good. He managed to steer himself around in circles and move backward and forward, which may actually have been attributable to his bow legs more than skill, but he did cover a fair amount of ground on two wheels. But like a novice gymnast, he could not stick the landing during his dismount. He attempted to hop off the hoverboard knowing that keeping one foot on could be disastrous, but he moves slower than he used to and the hoverboard spun around before his feet were off throwing him to the floor. I patted myself on the back for not commenting on the irony of his age and falling on his hip until I knew that he did not actually break any bones. Instead, he cut himself above his eyebrow, which probably actually made him feel like a young man since he suffered the same injury numerous times during his hockey playing days. He immediately tried to get back on the board at which point my mom had to intervene and forbid it.

Luckily, the hoverboard has moved into my daughter’s playroom and stayed there. The Old Man eyes it every time he comes over but he has not made a second attempt to conquer it. My husband, on the other hand has attempted to ride it and wiped out. He was fortunate enough to do so without me seeing or filming it, and without causing any injuries I could poke at. But today my dad asked me if I had fallen off yet and I told him no but I had ridden it successfully. Before he could even think about going for another ride my mom looked at him and said “over my dead body!” Unfortunately, I think he may have taken that as a challenge…

**I wrote this while listening to some music the Old Man likes…

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